JLG 1230ES

ARE YOU USING LIFTS THAT ARE TOO BIG?

Low Level Lifts for Safety & Productivity

There is nothing like a scissor lift for quick and safe access to hard-to-reach places at different heights. At Atlantic Lift Systems, a 19-foot scissor lift, which has a 25-ft. working height, is the most popular and widely rented scissor lift in the fleet.  But did you know that roughly 70% of lift operators say their projects require working heights of lower than 25 ft.? That means that 19-foot lift is overkill in the height department, and when it comes to accessibility, lifting capacity and maintenance, its performance falls short.  In addition, using an oversized lift on indoor worksites can be unsafe and lead to more harm than good.  For interior work-at-height jobs of lower than 25 feet, low-level lifts have big advantages.

Using an oversized scissor lift for interior work, such as electrical installation, and drywall hanging, can have safety and maneuverability pitfalls that negatively affect productivity and profitability.   Crush hazards become a real danger when using an oversized lift indoors because the platform height exceeds the ceiling height.  For instance, using a 20-foot lift inside a 20-foot tall room creates a potential crush hazard as the platform nears the ceiling.  In addition, 19-foot lifts have entry heights as high as 42 inches, with multiple steps up and onto the platform. Accessing the platform to load materials requires undoing a chain or lifting a bar.  This step-up height and not-so-user friendly platform entrance leave ample room for injuries from trips to strains.  Finally, the weight and size of 19-foot scissor lifts vs. low-level lifts can be a disadvantage. Most 19-ft. scissor lifts have an average weight of over 2800 lbs. They also have a taller stowed height, and require a wider turning radius than their low-level counterparts.  This creates added challenges when maneuvering tight corners, getting under doorways, or working on finished floors such as tile, laminate, or raised floor panels. 

Low-level access equipment provides a safe and effective option on many construction jobsites. For construction finishing work, electrical work, HVAC duct work, and routine maintenance in indoor spaces, including on sensitive flooring, low-level lifts are becoming increasingly popular, and rightly so. What exactly are low-level access lifts?  Low-level access lifts are lifts  with less than 19-ft platform heights and include vertical mast lifts, scissor lifts, and micro scissor lifts. These lifts have platform heights between 8 and 14 feet, and working heights of 14 to 20- feet.  At Atlantic Lift Systems, our fleet includes a variety of self-propelled and manual low-level lifts, from 11 to 20-foot non-powered lifts, to 12 to 20-foot driveable mast lifts.  Knowing your project requirements is key to choosing the right lift and avoid renting lifts that are too large for your job.  It’s time to take a good look at low-level access equipment to optimize your jobsite productivity and ensure operator safety.

The four most important features you should consider when determining if a low level lift is your best option is working height, platform size, lifting capacity, and worksite impact & maneuverability.

Working Height

It is essential to know the difference between Platform Height and Working Height when choosing any scissor lift.  Platform Height is the vertical distance between the ground the scissor lift is on and the floor of the platform that the worker will stand on.  From a lowered position to a raised position, this is the height from the ground to the level that the platform will raise.  Working Height is usually about six feet higher than the height of the platform, based on the fact that the average worker is about six feet tall.  Understanding the difference between platform height and working height is extremely important.   If your indoor applications require a 20-foot or less working reach, choosing a low level-lift is your best solution.

Platform Size

Whether your job requires installing HVAC or cleaning rafters, platform space is a key factor. It is important to know that while some low-level access lifts have small platforms sizes, some just 27 by 28 inches—other low level scissor lifts, like the JLG1230ES, have a platform size of 2 feet by 4 feet.  This allows workers to load up with plenty of tools and materials to keep productivity rolling. 

Lift Capacity 

Once you know how high you need your lift to take you to work comfortably on your overhead job, you must next consider the lift capacity of the equipment and your weight requirements.  This is not the time for guessing or estimating.  It is important to have precise information regarding the weight of the worker, as well as a realistic understanding of weight requirements for the tools and equipment needed to work safely and effectively at the projected height.  Weight capacity limitations vary depending on the type of lift and elevating workers and materials while maintaining stability is another key to maximizing productivity and ensuring worker safety. 

Worksite Impact & Maneuverability

Finally, the overall size and weight of the lift is an important factor when determining which lift is best for your job, and another reason a low-level lift may fit the bill.  Low-level lifts are lighter than 19-foot scissor lifts.  For instance, the machine weight of the JLG 1230ES driveable mast lift is 1130 pounds, which is at least 1,500 pounds lighter than an average 19-foot scissor lift.  Other battery operated or push around low-level lifts can weigh significantly less, at between 600 to 800 pounds. Low-level lifts have a smaller on-site footprint, zero turn-radius, point and go steering, shorter stowed heights, and are eco-friendly.  Their lighter weight, improved weight distribution, counter-rotating wheels, and self-contained hydraulic systems make them easier to navigate and maneuver, and reduces the risk of damage to sensitive floors and finished areas.

Putting It All Together

While standard 19-foot scissor lifts have become the go-to piece of equipment for indoor jobs, a closer look at low-level lifts confirms that taller isn’t always better.   With the average working height of most indoor construction jobs being below 20 feet, that 19-foot scissor lift might do more damage than good.  Whether you’re hanging drywall, installing sprinkler systems, painting, or doing electrical work, the lift you use should allow you to get all these jobs done safely and easily. The features and design of low-level lifts allow you to work seamlessly around other large on-site equipment, navigate easily through and under doorways and into elevators, and have little to no impact to you working environment.  Many low level lifts even have manufacturer-approved accessories, like tool trays (JLG Ecolifts), allowing you to bring more tools and materials to height.  Simply put, low-level lifts go above and beyond their size in terms of capabilities, while keeping safety, maneuverability, and productivity as top priorities.  They provide a safe and simple way for working at height, giving users the ability to complete 90 percent of the jobs typically reserved for 19-foot scissor lifts. 

Choosing the right equipment is essential.  Our experienced team are happy to help you evaluate your jobsite requirements and recommend the best low-level access solution for your jobsite needs. Make Atlantic Lift Systems your dependable rental partner and maximize safety and productivity on all your indoor construction projects! 

(Resources: www.forconstructionpros.com/benefits-of-lowlevel-access-lifts-when-working-at-heights-on-construction-1/5/2021; www.constructionexec.com/four-reasons-to-replace-a-mast-lift-with-a-low-level-lift-9/26/2018; www.ehstoday.com/choosing-a-lowlevel-scissor-lift-that-fits-your-project-1/4/2016; https://ohsonline.com/ The-Magic-Number-7/1/2014)

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